Splashing around and playing in swimming pools or running into the surf as fast as you can has got to be one of the biggest joys as a kid – and an adult! Whilst swimming is sometimes more about fun at the beach or enjoying a waterpark, it is a really important skill that could save your life one day, but some children are more reluctant or resistant to the water than others. Our quick guide helps those wondering how to teach kids to swim with some top tips that could change their mind about the water. We hope to see you playing around, relaxing and soaking up all the fun in one of the four pools at our family friendly holiday parks in Devon, soon!
Make Learning Fun
Wondering how to teach kids to swim when they are afraid of the water, splashes to their faces and more? Well, research shows that it can be a parent or carers reaction that has contributed to the fear. This means it’s important that you are the one to show your child that the water is okay and actually an enjoyable place to be.
Simply take them to a pool that is large enough that you can have a little space to yourselves. If they are still quite young or reluctant to let go of you in deep water, a toddler pool that they can stand in is ideal, too.
Take the time to play games, whether that’s races or sitting in the water clapping, singing songs or What’s The Time Mr Wolf, but in the pool. Laughing and enjoying the time in the water builds positive memories and associations, showing children that the pool or the beach is not a place to fear. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with your little ones, even as they learn to swim and get older it’s something you can enjoy together.
Top Tip: Regularly visit the pool so that those happy feelings and excitement builds over time. Our swimming pools here at the Welcome Family holiday park are a great location if you want to teach your kids to swim in a shorter space of time because you can visit everyday of your stay.
Building Confidence With Floaties
Floatie boards, woggles, worms, arm bands – anything you need to give children the confidence to swim is a great idea. Take them with you to choose their floatie, it will help to build excitement to get in the water.
When you visit the swimming pool, let your little ones just float around, kick, splash and move whilst wearing or holding onto their floaty. This will help to build their confidence and is an especially important step if your children are scared of being underwater.
This is also the perfect time to start guiding them through the motions of swimming. Ask your little one to lie on their back whilst wearing armbands or using a foam wiggle underneath them. For additional support if they need it, tell them you are holding them and let them feel your hands. Then, tell them to kick. Kicking is easier to grasp that moving their arms and the splashing is fun! It helps them get used to the sensation of a little spray and drops in their face, too.
Our tips so far have focused on getting little ones to enjoy the water -which can be half the battle – but if you are still wondering how to teach kids to swim, you will need to encourage them to move. Again, games are the best way. Get them to chase you, playing call and response games. Alternatively, if there’s a little group of you, why not have a little scavenger hunt. You can be there to support anyone that might need a little extra help, too. If you are still building up confidence underwater, perhaps play a game like retrieving objects beneath the surface, offering positive reinforcement all the time.
Never Mind The Splashing
Does your little one hate water in their face and it’s stopping them from enjoying swimming with their friends or enjoying all the fun activities that could be had? Building their confidence in the waves, rather than a pool, could be a good idea. This is because they experience the natural spray and waves whilst spending time with you! Encourage them to splash and get wet.
Lessons Are Always A Good Idea
Unfortunately, some schools don’t offer swimming lessons and they can be an expensive hobby but still very important. Swimming lessons at community centres, or just going through all these steps in an at-home paddling pool can also build up confidence until you can get to a real pool! Lessons will teach technique and movement, which is good for growth and strengthening, but how to teach kids to enjoy swimming is fun for everyone and just as important!